When you’re pumping away on your stationary bike, you generate a bit of energy, about 100 watts if you’re in good shape. People have been trying to come up with a way to harness that power, instead of letting it go unused. There are bikes that power blenders and gyms. One day, a group of college students hopes, your workout could power your washer.
The Bike Washing Machine is an idea from students at Dalian Nationalities University in China. They shared the concept on design site Tuvie. As you pedal, it turns the washing machine’s drum, tumbling the clothes with water and detergent. If you’re super efficient and the bike creates more energy than you need to power the machine, the extra juice can be stored or used immediately to power a small display screen that tracks your stats. While the idea of combining exercise with a tedious chore like laundry might seem doubly torturous to some, those in remote, electricity-less areas could potentially benefit from a similar device.
For example, the Drumi is a foot-powered washing machine set to debut this summer for $170. With that little device, however, you don’t need to complete a full workout. It takes about five minutes to wash and rinse your clothes. It’s not meant to fully replace an appliance, but rather simply provide an eco-friendly alternative to using lots of energy and water for small loads of laundry.
The Bike Washing Machine is totally a concept at this point, so there aren’t a lot of details about how you would load in the water and detergent and where they would drain once the clothes are clean. There’s also one serious flaw in the design: After you power through your working and laundry, you’re just going to have to hop back on the bike to clean the clothes you just made all sweaty.